This year presented an unprecedented range of advancements in the history of Dubai, and one of those prestigious moments was marked by the WikiArabia Conference. Hosted at the Mohammed bin Rashid Library in Dubai from October 28 to 30, the 3-day event was a congregation of the biggest names in the Arabic and international Wikimedia community.
What makes WikiArabia Different?
Are you wondering what makes WikiArabia different from its other versions such as the English Wikipedia? Let’s dig in! In 2001, Wikipedia was first launched in English. However, after two years, the Arabic version was launched in 2003. The core vision of Wikimedia’s foundation was to share and access all the knowledge with language inclusiveness and deliver diverse, rich, and informative content for the Arabic community effortlessly.
All about the conference
The WikiArabia Conference was an absolute hit! It hosted exquisitely insightful workshops and sessions that feature some of the most renowned names in Arabic as well as the International Wikimedia community. The CEO of Wikimedia Foundation- Maryana Iskander, CEO of Kiwix Stephane Coillet, and Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation- Luis Bitencourt and Lorenzo Losa gratified the event with their presence.
CEO of the Arts and Literature sector at Dubai Culture and Arts Authority- Dr. Saeed Mubarak bin Kharbash, esteemed chair professor of Arabic language at Zayed Universit- Dr. Hanada Taha Thomure, Drs. Mohammed Salem Al Mazrouei and Jamal Alshehhi, board members of the Mohammed Bin Rauf Foundation, were among the distinguished speakers and intellectuals who attended the opening ceremony. Amal Al-Sahlawi, an Emirati poet, delivered a stirring reading of her poetry during the ceremony. Lara Zaid Qasim provided musical accompaniment on the qanoon.
The charm of Wiki Youth Day preceded the conference
To jazz up things, the opening of the conference was preceded by Wiki Youth Day which was a day committed the high school and university students from all across the Emirates region. The Youth Day was commemorated to spread awareness about a diverse range of Wikimedia projects by leveraging a chain of introductory workshops to Wiki Source, Wiki Data, Wiki Common, etc. The Youth Day also presented a deliberate opportunity for students to showcase and nurture their imaginative sides such as writing as well as photography. All the Arabic user groups applied for participation and registered their attendance while making the event wildly successful.
A summit to remember
The first day of the conference featured some prominent speakers from the Wikimedia Foundation. The global Wikimedia movement was spearheaded by the words of Kamel Sallay and Bachounda Mohammed (prominent members of the Algerian Wikimedians User Group). The distinguished volunteer-led model of Wikimedia advocates for the fundamental objective of making knowledge available to all in different languages, and the WikiArabia Conference was a profound embodiment of that.
Needless to say, Wikimedia is one of the most remarkable digital projects that has shattered the boundaries of language-inclusive content. Information is the fundamental right of every individual and WikiArabia was a tribute to that!